Technology Science - sorry for Foursquare, Reddit outage

Latest Technology and Science News Inc. apologized Friday for a data-centre outage that brought down major websites including Foursquare and Reddit.

The company also offered customers of its web-hosting service a 10-day credit as compensation for the outage.

The company isn't disclosing how much the credit will cost it. Amazon Web Services accounts for only a few per cent of total revenues for the company better known for its online book, DVD, and music retail sales â€Â" but Amazon has high hopes for the division, which rents out computer time by the hour.

The outage at the data center near Dulles Airport, outside Washington, was a major stumble for the service. On Friday, Amazon was still restoring some of the computers brought down in the incident, which began eight days ago.

In a post-mortem report Friday, Seattle-based Amazon said human error set off the outage. An automated error-recovery mechanism then went out of control, and many computers became "stuck" in recovery mode.

The service is set up in a way that's supposed to provide redundancy, by letting computers in a different "availability zone" take over when one fails. Amazon said that customers that were properly set up to run their computing tasks over multiple zones were largely unaffected, but that the error made it difficult to switch zones on the fly. It's making changes to prevent the error from recurring.

The credit applies to all customers using the zone that went down, whether they were directly affected or not. Amazon has not revealed how many customers were affected.

Amazon shares rose 45 cents to $195.52 US in morning trading Friday.

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